we never go out of style

Your personality isn’t the first thing people see or notice about you. Today, actual human contact is so quick, it can be rare to get passed “how are you?” Fashion, however, is an instant language and style is a way to say who you are without even having to speak. It’s personal expression, it’s who we are and who we’d like to be, it’s confidence on the outside, it’s defining esthetically your mental attitude.

“Style is a deeply personal expression of who you are, and every time you dress, you are asserting a part of yourself.” – Nina Garcia

Most people tend to confuse ‘style’ with ‘fashion.’ Fashion is a trend, its ever-changing, it’s what other’s declare is ‘in’ and can be over very quickly. Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. Style is very personal, it lives within a person. It’s forever, or as long as you feel it. I felt like that needed to be explained because I see more than ever people being bullied by others because their style doesn’t include Gucci belts, Adidas shoes, or Louis Vuitton bags. What those bullies are essentially making fun for is the fact that the person’s style isn’t matching high-end fashion. They believe that style is what’s expensive or what’s trendy. But really, how boring would America be if we all dressed the exact same? How trendy would Hermes bangles be if everyone had a stack on their arm? Would anyone even care about Lululemon if it was priced the same as Champion? This is where style is important, it differentiates us and sets us apart.

“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

I personally really dislike trends. For one, they’re in and then they’re out; sometimes as fast as they get popular. Two, I can’t stand to be/look like everyone else. Fashion is way too fun to end up looking like fifteen other girls walking downtown. I’d much rather stand out or stand apart from the crowd than be just like it. Instead of joining a trend, I like to determine what’s next and start it myself. This fall/winter I’m thinking leather jackets with detailed patterns or designs are gonna be big, just because I personally love the idea, like bomber jackets last year. Being apart of a trend can be fine and dandy, so long as you still make it your own. For example, denim skirts. These can be seen at every public gathering you’ve attended this summer, but they can be styled so completely different person-to-person that I would consider them a basic piece. Same with Converse Chuck Taylors; from stadium games to a night on the town, they’re very transitional.

Working in two different clothing stores in a course of over three years has taught me a TON about fashion and style. I’ve used what I’ve learned along the way about design, combination of colors, textures, and prints, movement, and functionality to shape my own style. While most people think they need a definitive style, it’s not always something that can be defined simply as “modern” or “boho” or “chic.” When I’m not dressed in an oversized t-shirt and leggings for class; my style tends to change based on the mood I’m in, where I’m going, or who I want to be for the day. Every face that walks through the door where I work has their own sense of style, even if they don’t realize it. My job has been to assess a customer’s style and correlate it with new pieces of fashion to offer. A challenge sometimes, but mostly fun.

“Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself on purpose.” – G. Bruce Boyer

Style is so intriguing to me because it varies so much between people. You really learn a lot about a person who is essentially a total stranger. Do they like bright or darker colors? Are they more modest or bold? Do they prefer structure or comfort? Where are they going in this piece? It’s all so personal, yet its a loud declaration of who they are. I love when I can find the right piece for someone because feeling good in what you’re wearing can literally make all the difference. I’ve seen it happen, the right outfit can take your confidence to a whole new level. Being confident in what you’re wearing allows you to be your upmost self and express your individuality. Once you can express yourself, you can tell the world what you want from it and go get it; there inlays the power of an outfit, my friends.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.” – Edith Head

I fully believe in dressing for the job you want, or the job you have. Similarly, I believe that dressing well for attendance is a form of good manners. It acknowledges that you are prepared for something important and that you have pride in being ready and presentable. It represents that you want to be present and took the time to piece together an ensemble fit for the gathering. You may not always be aware of it, but what you wear is your billboard – so what are you advertising? Work ethic? Knowledge and power? A team? Social status? Your body? A brand?

I like to be careful about what brands I wear that people can recognize, simply because it is free advertisement for that brand. For that reason I rarely wear clothing such as t-shirts that have the brand name or logo so obviously placed unless I really love the brand or what the brand stands for. It’s essential to recognize branding when shopping, but not for the reasons you may think. Obviously people recognize high-end brands when they see them, but knowing what makes a brand better than others is by far more important – whether it be a longer lasting material, dyes that won’t fade, or softer fabric. Other than paying for quality, price really isn’t a factor in creating an amazing look, so long as you know what you’re going for. A $20 top and $40 shorts when styled the right way can look better than a $200 outfit any day of the week.

Bottom line – style isn’t about the price tag, it’s not about the brand or what’s trendy. It’s knowing yourself. It’s taking fashion and creating self-love, self-expression, and self-confidence visible to the eye. It’s feeling comfortable in how you dress. You’ll find that when you’re allowed to express yourself, feel comfortable and confident in what you wear, you’ll always look amazing.

“Just remember that ultimately, dressing is always about attitude, feeling comfortable, and confidence.” – Kate Moss 

As always,

Ara

babes support babes

I’ll never understand being threatened by or hating another woman because she is beautiful or successful. Tearing someone down won’t build you up, and it definitely won’t make you any prettier. I’ve always been a strong believer that as women we can shine together, be successful together, and support each other; all without undervaluing one another or being competitive. Babes support babes, if you can’t support a babe – you must lack the self-confidence.

“Empowered women empower women.”

I think we’ve all seen or experienced first hand a girl who hates on another girl just because she’s really pretty, successful, or smart. This can only stem from pure jealousy, i.e., lack of self confidence. Self-confidence is the difference between being threatened by a beautifully smart woman and being influenced by a beautifully smart woman. Jealousy is hate built on insecurity and it usually has a way of sabotaging a good thing for yourself because in the end, what you say and how you make other’s feel about themselves says a lot about you.

“No one has ever made themselves great by showing how small someone else is.”

You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in you. A person who only points out the faults in you have their own insecurities they should be addressing. Do not be fooled. Those people see the value and potential you have but direct other’s attention away from it so that you will appear less than you are. This is because they have such little self-esteem, such little self-confidence, that their jealousy prompts them to attack your character to bring you down to their level. We must pray for those that can see worth and only become envious and mean because of it.

The idea that you must be prettier, more interesting, and more successful than the girl next to you is simply ridiculous. Just be you. Comparison is the thief of confidence. There is no competition between you and the women around you. You can tell by the way a person walks, talks and portrays themselves to others if they are confident in themselves, it just radiates off a person. Confidence makes a person even more beautiful than they already are – you’ve probably heard it before, confidence is attractive. You don’t have to busy yourself by picking someone else apart, being self-confident has nothing to do with anyone else. Allow yourself to glow and let your confidence speak for itself.

I know that having or improving one’s self-esteem can be difficult for some. For those that need this: you are not defined by the family you were born into, the brand on your t-shirt, how clear your skin is, your past, the size of pants you wear, or the part-time job you’re working to pay for the career you want. Confidence is knowing all those things and still being completely who you are each and everyday, putting your best foot forward. Who is any one person to say that you are any less of a person because of those things anyway? You gotta love yourself. If you are unhappy with an aspect in your life, change it. But the sooner you learn that your interests, the way your hair naturally curls, dreams, the things that make you laugh, your thoughts, freckles, and the way you perceive things are just you and embracing that, the sooner you can truly be confident in yourself and not feel the need to be hateful to the girl next to you.

“Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.”

It’s no coincidence that strong women often have strong women behind them. People tend to gravitate towards confident people for a reason – negative people too. Babes support babes is a cute motto, but the nuance is there. Confident women can and should support other women. There has never been bad PR about a couple of girls who were nice to each other. The world is hard as it is for women without tearing each other down – so build each other up, unite a girl gang, and be a babe.

As always,

Ara

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what angels do

It’s been a year since I’ve blogged, a lot has happened since my last post – but I’m not gonna dive into everything at once. Like people do, I got carried away in other aspects. College classes kept me busy along with my part-time job, I accidentally started a small business and I closed my small business online, some family tragedies took place, and life just happened. I’ve grown so much in the past year, and day by day I’ve just been winging it. Which is why I’m back, because we are all winging it, that’s what angels do.

Naturally, we have our own plans and goals and we are doing our best to reach them, dealing with the cards we are dealt at the time. We would all like to think that everything we do and every choice we make is part of the big scheme in our head to get where we want to be, but realistically no one has any idea what they’re doing at a given time or how to get exactly where they want to go. We are winging it.

“Do what you can with what you have where you are” 

In January of this year I accidentally started my own business. I say accidentally because I had no idea I would ever wake up one day owning a business, let alone my idea to make my own neon sign for my bedroom could turn into a business. It was after I made my own sign and my close friends and some acquaintances told me that they really liked it and wanted their own, that at midnight on January 18th I opened my own shop, BrightSideDesignTX on Etsy.com. That same night I had orders coming in from around the country!

I essentially didn’t have any real confidence that this business of mine was gonna lead me to riches or take off whatsoever, but pretty soon I was receiving more orders for my signs than I could take the time to fill! This one-woman operation was under a lot of stress juggling school, my part-time job and this part-time business! I would make neon signs in any and all free time I had and told myself that I was just gonna wing it, riding out this business as long as I could – and that’s exactly what I did.

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“good vibes” custom made neon sign.

I decided that because my business was going so well I wouldn’t need to pile another part-time job on top of it in the summer. My orders were consistent and coming from all over the country. My signs were going better places than I was! Business was going great up until summer came around and I began bringing in less and less new orders each week. I had also encountered the dark side of retail, in that I realized that not everyone who received my signs had nice words to say.

What some people failed to understand, or read the listing I would say, is that unlike blown-glass neon signs that run upwards of $200-$800, I was selling neon signs made out of Electro-luminescent wire (EL wire) attached to a base wire for stability. The el wire gave the signs a bright glow which came in any color you wanted, the sign could read whatever you wished it to say, and was the same size as most neon signs sold on Amazon or Urban Outfitters. The best part, because the sign was made from el wire instead of blown glass, the cost was $80-$110 – obviously a dramatic difference. Still though, I received 3 too many bad reviews from (hardcore mean) people who believed they were getting blown glass or a gigantic neon sign.

I’m no professional business owner, so when people had negative things to say about the signs I was personally making, it would really tear me down – enough to make me close the shop and never want to do it again. I had no idea what I was doing when I started BrightSideDesignTX, it wasn’t ever my plan, nor did I do anything but wing it the entire time it was open. However, I did it and for a good while it worked out really well, which is all I could’ve asked for.

“Thing usually don’t happen the way you imagine they will.”

I never wanted to start a business, but I know I want to graduate college, I know I want to be a news anchor, I know I want to live in a big city and marry the man of my dreams – yet everyday I’m just winging it and I know that everyday for the rest of my life I’ll be winging it. There is a bigger plan for all of us, but we have no clue what that is – we are not in control of our fate. We take life day by day, most days just trying to get through it. Our inner guts point us in the direction we feel appropriate, and we hope like hell we just chose the wiser of the options.

“If it comes; let it. If it goes; let it.”

I think it’s important to recognize that we are just out here winging it at life, giving it our best go or maybe just a go. It’s important because it humanizes us. You aren’t supposed to have it all figured out, that’s for God to know. You also don’t need to stress and compare where you are with others, no one has it all figured out, and everyone has to start somewhere. You just need to know that you were put on Earth with a purpose, a reason, and a tiny pair of invisible wings to get you where you need to be – you will get there, you will get where God intends you to be. So don’t be afraid to be like the angels and wing it till you get it.

As always,

Ara

Taking on Love in College

I’m personally the biggest fan of young love, I can thank my experience for that. I believe it’s necessary to experience young love just for the sake of learning and growing from it. It’s simple, boy likes girl. There are no hard obstacles to go through in high school and no life changing decisions you have to make – yet. A love that lasts will make it to graduation, college and then real life. I’ll be the first to admit being in a relationship in college is tough, not tough to love but tough to make it together.

I may be in the small, unicorn-percentage of people that have been in a long-term relationship while in high school, but I know I’m not alone. As I have previously written in the blog “My Love,” which I wrote as a graduated senior last year, I started dating my boyfriend Konner my sophomore year in high school. How lucky am I to say that we’ve now been dating for four years! *holy* I have literally grown up and matured while also watching Konner grow and mature in the time we’ve been together, which is a really special experience. Going to college together this past year was something I’m so grateful for because not a lot of couples are lucky enough to do the same.

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High school graduation day 2015.

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Our first day of college at Midwestern State University.

I want to start with saying relationships in college are hard because you want the best for each other, but you must start with yourself. Your own future is incredibly important along with the decisions you make towards it. Needless to say it’s hard to worry about yourself, let alone someone else – but you do. There came a point, and in all honesty this point could be never ending, in which Konner and I just didn’t know if our futures were gonna align together. There is no question that we love each other, but we are still trying to figure out life on our own and prepare for a life after college where we will have the best career and opportunities. Who are we to keep each other from pursuing our dreams and becoming the best versions of ourselves?

There are also A LOT of new distractions that come with attending a university. Parties and college go hand in hand, and they are way more intense than the high school scene. Alcohol is easier to get than ever before and you’re instantly introduced to a world in which you could ask for any drug under the sun and be pointed in the direction of it’s whereabouts. As if thats not enough to make you worry, add that every face you look at doesn’t know anything about you or your girlfriend/boyfriend like your hometown did (not that it matters to most people these days anyways). It’s obvious that trust is the ultimate necessity and it’s really put to the test. Let’s be real though, this IS college and you shouldn’t stop your partner from going out and trying new things (within boundaries people). College is an experience.

“It is beautiful to love and be free at the same time.”

Of course the one thing you can’t control is your busy schedule. On top of class, homework, a part-time job and extra activities there were many days Konner and I didn’t see each other at all, even though we lived just across the lawn from one another in our different dormitories. Making time for each other usually came in the fashion of lunch/dinner dates and study breaks or we would stay up late to hangout if we could. It’s important not to get frustrated with how much you will actually see each other once classes start, but even more so to equally make time for each other. No more curfews + freedom = you can (usually) make it work.

“There is nothing like you and me together.”

I knew before I even stepped foot on a university that it would either make or break my relationship. It’s very easy to get caught up in everything college can be. Yes it took some time adjusting, but in all honesty Konner and I survived our first year in college together because we love, trust and respect each other. If you have those three things, there are no outside forces that can interfere with your relationship – you just don’t let it.

I’m blessed to have a strong relationship with a love that keeps growing and taking us on new adventures. Though I don’t know where the next few years will take us, I’m fine with tackling college for now. So happy 4 years to us, Konner. I love you now, forever and always.

“Veni. Vidi. Amavi. We came. We saw. We loved.”

As always,

Ara

All On My Own

The First Year


So that was it. You’ve thrown your cap in the air, the whole gym goes crazy – applauds, cheering and laughter – you did it. You look around at the peers you spent 13 years with, some you’ll never see again and others who will become simple acquaintances. A moment you thought would be far, far into the future has just came and ended and now the rest of your life is at the turn of the next page.

The first year after you graduate high school is a real defining time in your life. Your life is finally and entirely up to you to steer it and once summer ends, a lot of eyes are suddenly on you. Almost every life-changing decision you have to make is thrown upon you at once and a lot of changes take place.

Everyone is waiting to see who you’ll turn out to be outside of the high school hallways, outside of structured sports and after school activities, a world outside of parental supervision.The lower-classmen that said their goodbyes, the class above you that already had that pressure, and especially family and community members are waiting to see – what are you gonna do, and are you gonna fall or fly?

You don’t realize it while you are living your new adult life, but you do whenever you return home. Your first weekend back, thanksgiving and winter break, and any other chance friends, relatives and acquaintances have to ask you 20 questions in detail about your new life. “How’s school?”, “What are you majoring in?”, “Do you have a job?”, “You joined a sorority/fraternity?”, “Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet?”

You realize it as you tell them something they don’t approve of. Whether it be you going straight to work, moving in with a boyfriend/girlfriend, changing majors, transferring schools/taking a break from school, ect. You realize it as you witness your close friends go through a big change or make a big decision and hear the rebuttal from others upon that decision.

It’s important not to take this too seriously, because you also realize that no matter what you do there will always be those that don’t approve of your decisions.

“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”

For me, this came in several different instances, starting with my choice of college – yes my boyfriend and I were to be attending the same university, and no we didn’t base our choices on each other (although it was a huge plus). I was going for business and he was going for engineering, and no we weren’t gonna live together (lord forbid, even in the 21st century).

A new decision came my way when I started debating on transferring to the University of Oklahoma (OU). Unknown to many, I returned in the spring without the people who were by my side the most in the fall, making it a hard transition. My best friend and roommate didn’t return for several reasons, leaving me alone in our dorm for the new semester (I’ve never felt so alone in my life). Shortly after the semester started my boyfriend was unable to attend classes, therefore had to withdraw and was now living 15 minutes from campus. Mid-semester I learned that one of my new best friends and hall-mate who I had grown closer to than ever was transferring schools in the coming fall, I felt like everyone was leaving me at once.

As the semester continued and I dove into my new major, I learned that Midwestern State University had less to offer me than OU, one of the top mass communication programs in the United States. I was starting to wonder what was keeping me at the university I chose. So after much consideration, I decided to go ahead and apply and make decisions later. In the meantime I was gonna wait on an answer from the university, visit, and plan what I could for the coming year.

One of my high school best friends, Ashley, attends OU so I took a weekend out of my spring break to go visit her and tour the school. She gave me a tour of the entire university and most of the town. OU is a stunning campus. It was SO different from the small university I was used to and the city of Norman, Oklahoma had so much to offer.

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Beautiful architecture at the University of Oklahoma.

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My favorite building, the front of the library.

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The inside of the library.*wow*.

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Norman, Oklahoma.

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The front of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication building.

The end of the semester was nearing and still no answer from OU. My friends were making housing plans and getting their schedules done for next year all while I was still waiting. I eventually went ahead and made a schedule for if I ended up staying at MSU because it was taking so long, but my friends from both universities were wanting me to make housing decisions and I couldn’t make any until I knew where I was going.

Eight weeks later, I finally received my acceptance letter from OU, but by then it was too late to make new plans. I missed the boat for scholarships, and out of state tuition is insane. I had no plans for housing and I didn’t have the time to check on what classes would transfer from MSU, nor could I make a schedule at OU without going to a counselor there first. Although, as the weeks passed slowly, I came to realize that Midwestern State University is probably the best place for me at this point in my life. I’m moving into an apartment with my sorority sisters, its close to home, I can do the same major in Midwestern’s program, and I received a scholarship especially for my major at Midwestern. I really have no good reason to leave, but a lot to stay.

“I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for them to wait.”

Again, I received and am still currently receiving those disappointed looks and questions from friends, peers, and family as to why I’m not going to the University of Oklahoma. It’s never ending explaining why to those that ask, but I’ve come to expect it knowing everyone is watching.

It’s almost hard to believe that I’ve been out of high school for a year now, but this is me gladly giving the pressure to the new graduated class of 2016 along with some advice:

  • Don’t let others control your decisions
  • Base your decisions around you and nobody else
  • Chase dreams, not people
  • Don’t worry about reaching everyone else’s expectations of you, set your own goals and go after them
  • Stick up for the friends that do fall, things aren’t as easy as they seem
  • The road less traveled does make all the difference
  • Let people know instead of assume, you’ll be glad they heard it from you and not “a little birdy”
  • Live a life that YOU are proud of

 

As always,

Ara

A Way With Words

January 14, 2016


 

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Everyday I wear the same necklace around my neck, I can’t seem to leave the house without it. It’s engraved “fearless” and serves as a reminder to truly be fearless – to be intrepid and bold with your life, taking chances and risks to get where you wanna end up. I believe if you wanna embody being fearless, to have a life you are honestly happy with – you need to own what you feel and what you think. Be audacious. Let your voice be heard. As a society we are brought up to believe that our words are beyond powerful enough to hurt someone, but I know they also powerful enough to influence others.

“Words are in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.”

I genuinely feel that words have the power to change situations, people, even the world. When I’m reading and I come across something that just connects, something that I completely relate to, or even something that just sounds downright beautiful; for a moment I’m rest assured. For a moment I’m not so alone in my thoughts. Its the most humanizing and normalizing feeling I’ve yet to come across.

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For me I can’t get enough of that feeling. I’m constantly reading books (my Kindle is more or less my best friend) or quotes on Pinterest; its become a hobby of mine to create this amazing board of quotes on there. It’s no secret that reading those books and quotes have gotten me through some of the best and worst days in my life. I’ve just become so inspired by the things I’ve read, which is why I love to write so much and also why I started blogging.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospect.”

Having a blog of my own has allowed me to have an outlet to let out and let go of things that stay on my mind and remember sweet moments of my life, like taking digital pictures with words as the frame. Writing is, after all, as close as we get to reliving our dearest memories. Our childhood, our certainties, our dreams, and our loves all come to life through paper. To me, writing is seeing things, paying attention to the small details that become the big details in a story. I feel incredibly empowered when I write. Like all the things I hold inside can flow freely, and even become art or advice, a feeling I would recommend to anyone. Writing has easily become a part of my life. What started as stress relief or a spare time filler has become a passion of mine. Starting Tuesday, January 19th of my spring semester at MSU, I will be introduced to my new major, Mass Communication, and will really dive into all sorts of writing. To say I’m excited is an understatement. My goal in the future is to become a more developed writer and find my niche within journalism and mass communication. My wish is to someday change the world with my words; or maybe just someone’s world. I believe I would be happy with that.

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As always,

Ara

Thankful and Grateful

November 26, 2015

Full Hearts, Fuller Tummies


 

If you know me, you know that I take Thanksgiving very seriously (the food anyways); it’s my favorite holiday after all! It’s a day based on family, good food, and good intentions. There are no worries about presents, costumes, or dates; just good feelings inside a warm home, a day full of parades and football games, and missed conversations with the family you haven’t seen in a while. What’s not to love?

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Driving back home this thanksgiving break brings back so many memories in the small town I call home. Passing the stadium where I spent most Friday nights and the high school where I became myself, driving through the downtown square where so many parades and events have existed, and finally the new house my family spent most of last year building that I now call home. Memory lane has got me thinking; I am one lucky girl. To truly count your blessing isn’t an easy task, but I know I’m extremely blessed to live the life I have. Which is why I certainly have a grateful heart with so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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I’m thankful for a family whom welcomes me back home in open arms and I’ve missed you’s. A family I know is always gonna be there for me, and always has been. Thankful for a house I can come back to and it truly feel like home. I’m thankful that I get to help my mom in the kitchen, cooking those special family recipes that wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without. Thankful for my boyfriend who never fails to make me feel good or happy. For friends that always have my back and my new friends I’ve made from my sorority that already feel like old friends. I’m thankful for good health, and my surrounding loved ones with good health. I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to attend college and get a real education. I’m thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way and thankful for all of my experiences.

“Its not happy people who are thankful, its thankful people who are happy.”

Honestly there are countless things I’m thankful for, I could go on an on. No doubt there are things and people missing this year, but today I am thankful for the fact that I get to sit down with people I love that get to be here, and share a meal all under the same roof. This is bliss, my friends.

 

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

As always,

 

Ara

 

No Time Like the Present

November 8, 2015


How often do you find yourself saying, “I can’t wait for Next weekend” or “Friday night can’t get here soon enough?” In college you pretty much live for the weekend just so you have a break from schoolwork. But so often we find ourselves looking forward to something that we don’t even realize how precious time really is, and how limited our time here is to be wishing it away.

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“To live for the weekend is, after all, to waste 71.43 % of your life.”

Yeah you can’t exactly stay out late on weeknights, or have a laundry list of things to do on a Tuesday night, but what I think everyone needs to learn is how to be okay with the now. Every minute passing of each day is a minute you will never have back. You are the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you will ever be again – isn’t that daunting? So make use of it. Do something, even if it’s meaningless to everyone besides you. Wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and get motivated. My mom used to tell me that if I told myself when I woke up that “today is gonna be a good day”, it would be. You just have to have the right mindset. Its up to you, don’t just try to get through the day, make it count. No matter how you feel get up, dress up, and show up. Instead of waiting for Friday, do something you’ll be proud of today; it may just be all you have.

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Recently my dad was in a severe car accident on his way to work. It was still dark out when he was making the thirty-minute drive to PK Lake when he came directly upon a black horse standing in the middle of the highway. He had no time to react before he slammed into the 1,000-pound animal. The horse plowed into the front end of his truck, then rolled over the roof as the momentum drug it upward, sending my dad into the other lane with no brakes and a cloud of smoke in his view. He could tell he was on the wrong side and managed to turn his wheel back to the right side of the road until drifting to a stop. My dad made it out of the accident with not even a scratch as proof to what happened, but his truck told another story – the front end was completely crushed, and there were hoof prints on the roof.

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I had no knowledge of the accident, however it did become known to me when my parents came to see me at college. My surprise lunch turned into a cold story of the accident and rental car shopping. They hadn’t told me what happened until I met them in person because they didn’t want to worry me with a phone call or text, and worry me they would have. What a scary thought it is that I was going about my day while my father was in a terrible accident. I woke up that morning tired, dreading my 9 am class, and annoyed because of a surprise quiz – all the while my problems were so small.

I wonder how lucky I got to be able to see my dad again for lunch that day, I realized I never texted goodnight back to him the night before – too caught up in schoolwork to notice. If there is anything I’ve learned in the past year it is how short life is, and how little time we have to make the most out of our life. The time you have on earth and with the people you love shouldn’t be spent wishing for a better day, or a fun weekend. You make the choice to make each day meaningful. Even if the most you do all day is relax and reflect, that’s alright. Sometimes slowing down forces you to see the path your life is going, whether you’re just coasting with a job you don’t like, or you’re too afraid to say the right words to the right person. Whatever you find that’s holding you back, stop letting it. Life is too damn short to spend your days unhappy. Other times reflecting makes you see how little your problems are to reality – is this test grade really going to determine the rest of my life? Probably not. To actually pause and realize all the good I have around me makes me wonder how I could ever wish away what my life is today. I don’t need to fast forward to the parts of my life where I‘m graduated, I’m successful, and I have a career. I am happy with where I’m at today – being a foolish teenager, learning from my mistakes, and living what will be the best years of my life.

Today is good. I thank God for today.

As always,

Ara

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Unexpected Opportunities

September 29, 2015

(Sometimes the Best Opportunities) 


Opportunities can come along when you least expect them, often times in ways you would never think possible; at least that’s what I’ve come to learn. Recently I was on a shopping hunt for a dress I had to wear to a sorority event; luckily for all the new pledges, we were to find these long white dresses after Labor Day with a 4-day notice. Since Sewn Clothing Gallery was the closest place to campus to start my specified hunt, I made my first stop there. When I walked into the store I have to say I was literally taken aback by all of the gorgeous clothes and accessories the store contained, I was too distracted by furs, leathers, and sequins with all their new fall looks that I forgot about my long white dress – I had never been in a store with so much of my style before. I immediately went up to the two girls working and asked if they were hiring. At first said they were not and I was really let down, then one women said that I could go ahead and fill out an application because they never know when they will need another girl; I kindly obliged.

Back to my original task, I looked around for my dress. Although they had a white dress, it wasn’t long, so I continued my search all around Wichita Falls. When I say I went to every single clothing store I mean I went to every single clothing store. After a few hours of searching I gave up on a long dress and decided that the short dress from Sewn would have to work. The next day in my environmental science class, right in the middle of trying to find the PH balance of dirt, I got a text message from the owner of the store, Sarah. As it turns out she was the one I spoke to about working there and was asking if I was available to model in their fall look book on Sunday. Now I’m no fashion model, but if nothing else I thought it would be something fun to do – I jumped on the opportunity.

Being apart of the photo-shoot felt like I was in a Vogue magazine. From head-to-toe I was fully glammed – my hair was big, my makeup was fierce, and my clothing style was edgy. The photographer truly had an amazing vision for this look book and shooting it was a blast. Modeling the clothes came with ease – apart from wearing leather pants in 100-degree weather. With the help of disco balls, old albums, and a classic car, each style really came together. Unluckily for me, I had to leave early and miss the last style shoot to get to my sorority event, but I had no doubt the photos would be nothing but glamorous. After the photo-shoot I was able to come in for an interview with Sarah and she hired me, which was the best news ever because I could use a job – or rather money coming in at the rate I spend it. I started work that week, and it just so happened to be fashion week.

(All fashion photography by Devon J Imagery)

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Fashion Night Out is a benefit held in Wichita Falls providing a fashion show by all the local clothing stores and allowing those in the community to come watch and support a local cause. Sewn was apart of the lineup and I couldn’t have been thrown into work at a busier time. My first day on the job I wasn’t trained, but rather was able to help style the models that would be walking for us on the runway at the show – does a first day get any better? I literally felt like I was dressing up Barbie dolls and met so many kind women along the way, including a newswoman I had watched every morning before school (until coming to college where I don’t have a TV in my dorm.) The day of the show I helped deliver and set up all of our clothing racks and clothes at the building the benefit was being held – I was able to be behind the scenes of a real fashion show! Later on after the fashion show Sewn held an after party where fashion show guests could come and shop the styles they saw in the show, and it was a huge success. Although crazy, Fashion Night Out was probably the biggest new thing I’ve experienced since coming to school in Wichita Falls, plus I’m kinda convinced I’ve found the best part-time job ever.

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Its kind of funny to look back and think that if I had never walked into Sewn looking for a long white dress I never would have had the opportunity to work there, model, or be apart of a fashion show for the community. I do believe God has a plan for everyone, you truly never know how things will pan out or when a lifetime opportunity will come your way. I encourage everyone to get out there and try something new, you never know if it will lead to something great for you.

As Always,

Ara
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The Rush of Rush Week

September 6, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Greek


I know I know, I said I would never be a sorority girl unless I went to a big university – but then I got here. Orientation really opened my eyes about all the opportunities Midwestern State University had to offer, and greek life played a big role, it seemed, here on campus. I started to think seriously if I could do it. I had my doubts about the whole process; I didn’t wanna get in over my head my first semester away at college, yet I’ve never not been in a group that I could be involved with through the school and community. I went back and forth the whole first week I was at school; I would want to do it, but something always made me second guess if I was making the right choice. (If you know me, you know I hate making decisions, I’m always scared I won’t make the right one.) I went to an event called “Meet the Greeks” where I talked to and met a lot of sorority girls from the four sororities here at Midwestern, which was such a great time and so rewarding. After that I swear I talked about recruitment to every person I came across, but that wasn’t particularly my fault. I would be asked by strangers and acquaintances if I was rushing, which was at the time a no, and I would be questioned and told all about it, leaving no unanswered questions – by the end of the week I knew all I needed to make an educated decision. I signed up for recruitment the day before the deadline and there was no going back, (partly because I payed money to sign up). I was gonna rush with my two best friends.

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The night of the sorority meeting was kinda hectic for me. Since I had signed up so late in the game I wasn’t assigned to my group for recruitment ’til the day it started. Which for me, meant that I was suppose to go to dinner at 5:30pm before the meeting at 7pm to meet my group and be social. The only problem was I had class until 3pm and had so many things to do before the night started! I was in such a rush to be at the dinner I decided I would paint the fingernails on one hand and come back after the dinner to finish the other – only that didn’t happen. We went straight from the dinner to the meeting, I got to meet people and have my first impression having one hand painted *ugh*. Besides me hiding my ugly hand, I realized at the meeting that there are so many beautiful girls rushing, (like so pretty I don’t wanna be standing next to them when I meet an active member, pretty) and remembering I’m competing for a chapter with only 30 spots open while in a room with 100, I was severely nervous for the week ahead.

Night one of recruitment was Philanthropy Night and we were to wear our new “potential new member” shirts and learn about the different sorority’s philanthropies as we visited each room. The last thing I expected was loud banging on doors so they would open them, and loud singing in my face – which was exactly what happened. We went to four rooms, or ‘parties’ and had the sororities perform songs which they changed to match the sorority name and description, such as a play on “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Sweet Home Sigma Kappa”. The noise definitely threw me off, and they all had such high energy for a night I thought was full of serious one-on-one questions. We did sit down after the singing had died down however, and talked to the members so they could get to know us. Its a lot more nerve racking than it sounds, being interesting and giving a person everything they should know about yourself in a small amount of time isn’t an easy task. I found myself blanking out on words that you use in everyday sentences, even forgetting what I was going to tell them. I’m the type of person where I want everyone to like me, and knowing in the back of my head that I was going to be cut from one sorority that night was lingering in my mind as I spoke. Even though it was stressful, I found myself talking at ease and being completely comfortable while I spent time in Sigma Kappa’s party; knowing so many girls from when I met them at “Meet the Greeks” made me feel more at home and like I was talking to a friend. At the end of the night I had to choose who I didn’t want to come back and see tomorrow. I was relieved I got through the first night without peeing in my pants, starving to death, freezing to death in the waiting room, and falling asleep between parties.

Night two of recruitment was Values Night and was a little more fun for me because we got to dress in church dresses and do ourselves up nice for our potential new home. This time when we got onto the buses that shuttled us to the building downtown we were handed slips of paper, not to be shared with anyone, that had a list of who we would be visiting that night. I got invited to the three parties I wanted to see again, which was all good news for me. I did notice girls who were upset that they didn’t get invited back to the one they had wanted, and it was an eye opener at how serious recruitment is in all actuality. (I was hoping that wouldn’t be me.) On values night we would learn about what each sorority values, in hopes that it matches our own values. We also got to sit back and watch the sororities perform skits which were all hilarious. Again we were greeted with loud singing and rambunctious banging on the doors for them to let us in, then went on to have the one-on-one conversations again as well. On the whole, the night was much more laid back and fun. Talking to the sororities was easier knowing that they had invited me back and wanted to get to know me more. The night was over before I knew it, which meant we were to pick who we wanted to see again, and were also getting cut from a sorority for the second time.

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When Claire, Keely, and I returned to the dorms we nervous wrecks. It was actually really stressful to think that the sorority we wanted so badly could possibly cut us that night. We had seen it happen that night to other girls, and we felt at ease talking about our fears and what we said or did wrong with each other. We ended up moving Claire’s bed from her room across the hall from us into our room and under Keely’s bed, since she had space. We couldn’t think about not going through the next two nights together. We stayed up later than we should have, but we all slept better knowing we had each others back and were in this together – in the same room, ha!

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Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.52.03 PMThe last night, night three, was Preference Night. This was the most serious night of all because you only get invited back to, at the most, two sororities and you have to choose which one you want to join at the end of the night. We dressed in formal dresses and were glammed up to our best. There was no loud banging or loud songs being sung at each party. Instead it was full of serious speeches and tears from the seniors, and lots of love from around the room. It was now the sororities turn to win us over. We were only half done trying to impress them, we still wanted to leave a lasting impression. Luckily for me, I had known from day one where my home was, and I suicided my bid card in hopes that I would wake up the next day with the sorority that had picked me too. (Suiciding means that instead of putting a top one and two sorority, you only pick one. So if the sorority didn’t choose you also, you have no back up sorority as your number two, so you don’t get in one.) I figured that I didn’t want to get myself into something that I wasn’t 100% into, and so I was all or nothing for the sorority I loved the most. Sigma Kappa had just made me feel like a friend even before rush week had started. They were nothing but nice to me all through recruitment and I loved that they remembered me and wanted to be the one to have the one-on-one conversations with me. They also had great values (personal growth, friendship, service, and loyalty) and a philanthropy close to my heart. One of their many heir philanthropies is raising money for the national Alzheimer’s Association to fund research to find a cure, and since I have a grandmother with the disease, I know how hard it can be on a patient and the family who goes through it. Making the choice to join Sigma Kappa was an easy one for me, my only worry was if I could only get through the night without getting a phone call saying not to show up tomorrow cause I wont have a bid card.

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As it turns out, Keely and Claire had also suicided for Sigma Kappa, we could share the unbearable stress together. Luckily we had some wine to cool the nerves, but every time our phone lit up we died a little bit inside thinking it was THE dreaded phone call. We had heard that they wont stop giving phone calls until 8:30 the next morning, so we couldn’t even get a good nights sleep because we didn’t know what our fate was. We kept thinking of the worst scenarios, and playing back all the wrong things we did along the way with reasons why they were gonna call us. It was hard getting to sleep, but the morning finally came and as we watched the clock pass 8:30, we knew that we were now sisters. (We were still thinking that we must have written our phone numbers down wrong, or they forgot to call us.) Now we only needed to receive our bid card to get to where we would call home everyday after.

After lots of anticipation, the officials let us reach under our chairs in our last meeting to grab our card and then we ran to greet Sigma Kappa. It was like Christmas morning, waking up to see what we got, and we got the best. The Sigma Kappa girls were already outside the doors waiting on us as we ran across the lawn to them. Their letters were adorable and their faces showed true excitement to greet us. We met the girls that pref’ed us the night before and they were holding balloons that had our names written on it. We eventually gathered in the sorority building and it was such a cool feeling to see the chapter room for my new sorority. After lots of hugs and tons of pictures, we were off to celebrate being new members by ice skating (which I tried for the first time and learned I was terrible at it) – yes I did bust. (Pretty sure I broke my knee doing some weird split thing on the way down.) A few slices of pizza, an hour or two of skating, and a few dozen pictures later, we were leaving the ice rink and winding down what was the perfect bid day.

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I am now apart of a sisterhood I will grow to love like family, and a group of girls that will turn into my best friends – and future bridesmaids. A sorority that is nothing like how they make it out to be in movies, and one that I will carry with me way past graduation. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to not only go greek, but to join Sigma Kappa. I know that I will be happy here among the wonderful group of ladies that I have met and cannot wait for all the exciting things we do together over the next four years. Rush week was everything they make it out to be, and the rush wont be over until graduation day comes. Until then: “S-I-G sig M-A ma, K-A-P kap, P-A pa, Sigma Kappa rah, rah, rah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, HELL YEAH!” -ΣΚ 💜

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